Withlacoochee State Trail - Day 3

Again, we began milling about the parking lot at the Central Motel this morning for those that wanted one more ride before beginning long drives back home. The group began fragmenting as some riders went on ahead while others finished breakfast.
Then we were off for various points north.

Another completely perfect day was ours, just cool enough to be refreshing, with a light breeze. Photos are up in the gallery.



Everyone adjusted their ride distance and time according to their own travel plans and we said our good byes along the way. Tough to see all this fun come to an end, but we have to begin making plans for the next one. Thanks again, Phil, Bob, and José, for a very memorable weekend!

26 miles, parting hugs and smiles
O\vo~

Withlacoochee State Trail - Day 2

So, it seems that quite a few folks weren't able to get away in time to make Friday's ride but they certainly turned out in force for this morning's mass start. Just take a gander at the photos in the gallery. Why, I met a gentleman (well, that'd be Dudley) who drove all the way from Hattiesburg, MS to join us this weekend!

Shortly after our mass start, we had a brief stop to make repairs to a velometer for Cynthia and Steve. Then we were off for all points south.



Folks fell into natural paces and groups that worked together and switched them all round just as quickly, so there were lots of opportunities to ride with different people and plenty to talk about. As I heard it put late in the day, "...but you get a bunch of recumbent riders or trike riders together and, well, ...there's just not a pickle in the bunch!"


'Coochee Invasion April '09 - It's America from Bob Emmerich on Vimeo.

I wound up stopping for lunch at the Ridge Manor trail head where many others thought to do the same and enjoyed a strong, cool breeze under the pavilion. There was a nice, peaceful relaxation to the break we shared there. Oh, and restroom facilities were on hand.

Then we formed up and began heading back toward Inverness. I found myself involved with a few riders interested in trying the "pace line" activity or, in our case, it was a little more like flying in formation at an altitude of maybe 4 or 5 inches! I started out leading the pack and each one tucked in behind, but slightly offset to the outside by about half a trike width and following quite close.

As entertaining as it was to pull this assembly along, the real surprise was turning the lead position over to another and falling in line to realize the unbelievable benefit of drafting. Yeah, yeah, I know this really does go against the philosophy of recumbent riding (i.e., what's the rush), but I must admit... it was kinda big fun! We cruised along at 15-19 mph for 5 or 6 miles before returning to our senses. (Thanks Phil, Sue, George and Mark)

I managed to sneak a tiny nap in before pedaling south to Floral City to attend the happy hour that Regis and Cindy put on for us at Hampton's Edge Bicycles where, it seemed, the entire crew chose to reassemble and visit once more. There were snacks, beverages, and door prizes and several members of the community came out to "investigate" the nature of this here, so-called "Assault on the Withlacoochee."

Since we had reservations, set up for us by our ride organizers, at Coach's Pub in Inverness, it was time to cycle a few more miles yet, so I left Hampton's Edge bound for downtown and met up with the group on site. There was an outdoor concert of sorts also going on right at the court house. So, we had the feeling that the whole town was partying in honor of our group's presence!

Day two, ... W O W ! !

64 miles, lots and lots of new friends and, multiple smiles ...stay tuned... there's one more day!
O\vo~

Withlacoochee State Trail - Day 1

The popularly billed "Assault on the Withlacoochee" gets underway in just a couple of hours, but I got an early start and have some photos up, already in the gallery. That was just a quick 20 miles to work off breakfast. More later, but now it's lunch time...



After lunch, I eased up the trail to the Central Motel and found many more riders AND familiar faces than I had expected. We rode north and seemed to gather even more riders as we went along. I very nice breeze keep us cool all day and seemed to help on the return ride back into Inverness. The group reassembled poolside for some snacks and socializing where I met more new friends.

The restaurant put on a buffet for us (I think I heard the count was well over 60) and this included a performing visit by none other than Elvis! After this, some of us felt the need to ride even more, so we took another brief jaunt southward until it was dark enough to chase deer across the trail on our way back to the motel.

That wraps up day one for me.

65 miles and tons o' smiles ...stay tuned for tomorrow's report
O\vo~

Suwannee River Floodplain at Branford

This morning there was a chance of rain, so I rode into the weather toward Branford to have a look at the rising water. The levels were a complete surprise to me since they have not yet crested but are nonetheless higher than I've ever seen. Ivey Memorial Park in Branford is underwater!

There was very little traffic on the trail today, just the tiniest spritz of rain in Branford and a welcome tailwind to coax me back to the freshly swept O'Leno to Ichetucknee Trail.

I've put my photos up in the Gallery. Please enjoy.

29 miles
O\vo~

Hawthorne Trail

Deanne, Mark and I enjoyed a very leisurely ride out to Hawthorne and back on the Hawthorne Trail. Unlike my usual "training" dashes where I just ride out and back, we took in the side trails and paid more attention to the experience. It was a perfectly chilled morning that warmed up just right to keep us comfortable the whole way.

Since our last trip in to the town of Hawthorne, we were surprised to learn that the barbeque place which had been our "usual" dining stop is no longer a Sonny's Restaurant. It now bears the name Dianne's Old Time Barbeque and seems to have mostly the same fare, sans the salad bar. The service was quite friendly, as well as satisfactory.

I've put my photos up in the Gallery. Please enjoy.

33 miles & smiles
O\vo~